Attention Taxpayers: Don’t Get Burned by IRS Phone Fraud
Tax season is often unpleasant. Nobody likes paying money to the government, and even if you’re expecting a tax refund, filing the paperwork (or dealing with an accountant) can still be time consuming.
Unfortunately, there is a new reason to dread tax season: the emergence of telephone fraud. Fraud and identity theft have long been concerns when it comes to dealing with the IRS, but this year there has been a particularly nasty version of phone fraud going around, and it has cost taxpayers millions of dollars already.
A recent Forbes article reports on the scam:
The largest ever phone fraud scam of Internal Revenue Service impersonators is underway this tax season, and thousands of victims have lost more than $1 million as a result of the scam, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration. TIGTA, which has received reports of over 20,000 of the fake IRS calls, is warning taxpayers to be on the alert.
The IRS first warned taxpayers of the pervasive phone scams in November and included them on its Dirty Dozen tax scam list for 2014. The scammers appeared to first target to recent immigrants, but the scam has spread to the general population, and has hit nearly every state.
The scammers make unsolicited calls to taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials. Then the scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license. Real IRS representatives will not make such threats, nor will they ask for debit card, money order, or bank account information over the phone.
The problem is the calls feel “real.” TIGTA says the scammers typically use common names, know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number, make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is actually calling, send bogus IRS e-mails to support the scam, and sometimes call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.
It is important to understand that the IRS will never ask for credit card information or bank information over the phone. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent requesting this type of personal information, hang up immediately and notify the authorities.
Tax season is already unpleasant enough – the last thing you want to do is fall victim to IRS related fraud.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with us today. In addition, if you are facing an IRS dispute, we want to help. The IRS has a wealth of resources that they use to make taxpayer’s lives miserable. We’ll represent your interests and put a stop to harassing phone calls, letters, and visits. Many taxpayers make the mistake of taking on the IRS by themselves – and the IRS regularly takes advantage of their lack of tax law knowledge in order to extract more revenue. Let us fight for your rights. Contact us today to learn more!